Contemporary

Book Review: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

To All the Boys I've Loved Before
Author: 
Han, Jenny
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This is a wonderful book for anyone who's ever wondered what it would be like to have all of your crushes find out that you liked them-- at the same time. Lara Jean is a high school junior and her life goes from boring to out of control overnight when her secret love letters to her crushes are mailed out. At the same time, one of her crushes, Peter, breaks up with his girlfriend and the two decide to start a fake relationship to make Peter's ex-girlfriend jealous, and so Lara Jean's real crush, Josh, doesn't find out that she likes him. This book is funny, detailed and true in a way that very few romance books are. It pleasantly surprised me with the humor and heart of this novel. Peter and Lara Jean have wonderful chemistry and it is hard not to fall in love with this book!

Reviewer's Name: 
Allie S

Book Review: The Wedding Party

The Wedding Party Cover
Author: 
Guillory, Jasmine
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Maddie and Theo have known and disliked each other for a long time - as long as they've had the same best friend, the newly engaged Alexa Munroe. When they end up hooking up after Alexa's engagement party, it was unexpected for both of them to say the least. They both end up in the wedding party, and they know they will be thrown together more often. When they find themselves unable to resist a second hook-up, they put some rules into place, the chief one being that they'd only hook up until the wedding and then they'd go their separate ways forever.

If you read that synopsis and thought that you knew exactly where this book is headed, then you are correct! This is a very straightforward romance. What you see is what you get. I was expecting a little more. I thought it would be a comedy or maybe there would be some political commentary since our leads are both people of color but neither of those things were present. That said, I actually found the straight-up nature of this read to be surprisingly refreshing. I knew exactly what I was going to get and I got it. I didn’t learn anything new, and some aspects of the story were frustrating (for example, they don’t hate each other so much as tolerate each other with mild annoyance) , but all was resolved by the end. It was a good palate cleanser, and next time I don’t know what I’m in the mood for, I may pick up a Guillory book.

To be completely honest, I don’t read a ton of romance (which is how I would classify this book, perhaps mistakenly). If you like contemporary romance, I see no reason that you wouldn’t like this one – its a sexy read with believable characters and scenarios. 3 stars. Despite myself, I ended up kind of liking it.

Thanks to Netgalley and Berkley publishing for the advance copy which I got in exchange for an unbiased review. The Wedding Party will be available on 16 July, but you can put your copy on hold today!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind
Author: 
Draper, Sharon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This book is a really good book that I have read many times. It’s about a girl who lives with Cerebral Palsey and finds a new machine to “talk”. This story is about her frustrations and triumphs that only you can see.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maya

Book Review: A Woman Is No Man

A Woman Is No Man
Author: 
Rum, Etaf
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

Definitely among my favorite books of the year. Beautifully written in alternating points of view, each woman's story is absolutely compelling, enraging, and heartbreaking. There was a passage toward the end of the novel where I found I actually was holding my breath.

This is the type of book that makes you understand the power of words and stories and how important they are, on so many levels - from Isra reading to escape her suffocating life, to Deya for whom books mean freedom and education and choice, to the reader who is ultimately changed by the experience of their story.

This book is going to stay with me for quite a while - definitely an author to keep on my radar!!!

Reviewer's Name: 
Krista

Book Review: Immoral Code

Immoral Code
Author: 
Clark, Lillian
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

"Immoral Code" tells the tale of five seniors in high school planning something even bigger than Homecoming. When Bellamy's billionaire father refuses to pay her college tuition at MIT, the gang gathers together to right the wrong, her friend Nari in particular. Under the code name d0l0s, Nari and the rest of Bellamy's friends search for the much needed money- and revenge.

The story's plot circles around a small hiccup in their plan: to get the money, they'll have to sneak into the Foster Inc. building! This story is full of suspense, humor, and 3-dimensional characters each struggling through their own adolescence problems simultaneously. Lillian Clark does a fantastic job of weaving multiple view-points together to tell this memorable tale. I would recommend t it to anyone my age!

*Note: This story does contain a good amount of profanity. Definitely for older readers.* Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R.

Book Review: There's Something About Sweetie

Cover
Author: 
Menon, Sandhya
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Sweetie Nair is fat. She doesn’t care, but her mom cares. Like, a lot. A lot a lot. Definitely too much. So much that so when Ashish, a hot local boy from a good (and crazy rich!) Indian family tries to date Sweetie, Sweetie’s mom shuts it down. But Sweetie won’t give up without a fight, and so she, Ashish and Ashish’s parents hatch a plan in which the kids will go on four dates. If it works out, they’ll tell Sweetie’s parents. If not, no harm done. Plus, what can happen in four dates? Turns out, a lot.

If you’ve read any of Menon’s other books, this one is completely on brand. I’ve read her other two books, and this one might be my favorite? It’s up there with Dimple, for sure. It’s a funny romantic comedy with endearing, mostly believable characters from a culture that’s different from mine. In addition to reading an adorable book, I get to learn a little bit about Indian Americans. This one has an added element of pointing out our society’s horrible ways of treating fat people. The way a folks react to Sweetie will have you seeing red – but you know it’s unfortunately totally realistic. Luckily, Sweetie is a self-confident young lady, and it was a joy to see her grow throughout the book. Ashish isn’t too bad himself! He has a very believable journey through the course of the book, and was a male lead you could root for even as he made a few terrible decisions.

TLDR: If you’re looking for a light, funny and very swoony read, this one will do it for you. I know it put a smile on my face.

Sandhya Menon is coming to PPLD to be the keynote speaker for Mountain of Authors! Meet her, listen to her give a talk and get a book signed on 27 April at 21c. More information about the event can be found here: https://research.ppld.org/mountainofauthors

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for the advance copy, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. There’s Something About Sweetie will be available for purchase on 14 May – don’t forget to put your copy on hold!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Foolish Hearts

Foolish Hearts
Author: 
Mills, Emma
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Foolish Hearts is your typical YA high school drama. With a mean girl, break ups, friendships, and broken friendships, this book is not a new story. I thought the storytelling and the characters were interesting and it is a well executed book but I've read this story before. Another critique that you can't get away from when writing high school fiction is that the characters are not very believable. I know that if the characters aren't dramatic and larger than life then it wouldn't be an interesting story, but as a high school student the situations are just so unbelievable and dramatized. I did enjoy the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and it just being a casual thing but this book is not one I would read again.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.
Awards: 

Book Review: Everything Everything

Everything Everything
Author: 
Yoon, Nicola
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book "Everything Everything" by Nicola Yoon is about a girl named Maddy. All she wants is to go outside and see the world, but sadly, the only 'outside world' she will ever be apart of is her colorful sun room. Madeline has Bubble Baby Syndrome, a condition where anything could cause her allergies to go crazy. However, when she notices a new neighbor named Olly, she can’t wait to talk to him…. through iMessage. However, texting isn’t enough, she needs to see him in person and be next to him. As the story unfolds, Madeline will find out a secret that will change her world forever.

"Everything Everything" was such a good book and I would love to read it again. Each and every character has their own unique personality, which make them more relatable to different people. I am so thrilled to be able to read more of Nicola Yoon's books and hope that they are just as good as "Everything Everything"

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaylei F

Book Review: Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind
Author: 
Draper, Sharon
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

In this amazing story of young Melody, who was born with with Cerebral Palsey (CP), must face the hardships of mean girls and people who underestimate her abilities. You will always be found caught in Melody’s mind. Defiantly a must read.

Reviewer's Name: 
PigPerson

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: 
Saenz, Benjamin Alire
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is about a complicated relationship between two boys, in which one finds it difficult to accept himself and his family, which translates into him bring unable to understand or accept love from the other boy. It develops the ideas of self-criticism and self-acceptance, as well as the multiple forms that love can take on. Aristotle and Dante are the two main characters, who begin as friends and slowly fall in love. Aristotle, Ari for short, deals with a father with PTSD and a delinquent brother who is the black sheep of the family. Dante has a peaceful and accepting family, which causes tension between the boys; while Ari has learned to speak with his fists or remain silent, dante has learned to be diplomatic and express himself at all times.
The fact that they are total opposites is very interesting, because the plot then revolves around a complicated process of trying to understand each other. It is a good read if you are looking for something that is about mental health, love, and how relationships require compromise. It is also written in a nice style, in a sort of blocky, thought-like manner. I would give it four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

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